August 31st was not only Jupiter’s “got-me” day, it was also technically the end of my Fulbright research term. With the beginning of the 2016 school year and the end of the 2015 fiscal calendar, I am now a Fulbright alumni. The University of Alberta will be shutting down my UAlberta email and no more scholarship checks will becoming in. It sounds like a sad ending, but I am still fully engaged in my research. I will be staying in Canada for the next three weeks tying up all the loose ends, doing final farm visits, and planning and participating in the Northern Alberta Permaculture Convergence. Then even after Jupiter and I make the long drive home to Minnesota, I will continue collecting data sent to me by my research sites until the end of the growing season and write up a final report with my findings. I intend to keep updating this blog with my progress and the posts have haven’t had time to complete during the growing season, and have a final report posted on this website for anyone to access by Christmas.
Even though it is not yet goodbye, I’m feeling the pressure. I have a lot to get done in order to be certain my research is ready to go remote, clean up after myself, and give all the thank yous and hugs needed to everyone who made my experience here in Alberta so fantastic. Since I was little I would get anxious whenever a big landmark or life change approaches. I would wonder if I had lived that year of my life to the fullest or accomplished all I could in that grade of school or generally taken advantage of everything life had to offer that far. As I age I suffer less from these existential crises every birthday, new year, and graduation, but even now I can still feel that tinge of doubt that maybe I have messed up this experience somehow. I am happy to say my rational mind is successfully kicking that doubt in the butt. Not only have I learned so so much from my research and farm visits, but I have also done so many exciting things above and beyond what I thought I would do! I traveled to Vancouver for the first time in my life. I participated in a Food Forestry training in BC. I participated in several informative and inspiring Young Agrarians events that took me all around Alberta. I played on an awesome Roller Derby Team and skated my first public scrimmage in Drumheller. I participated in the Southern Alberta Permaculture Convergence and can’t wait for our Northern Alberta Permaculture Convergence to come together in a few weeks. I’ve helped ReThink Red Deer host some great programming and bring in a stupendous garlic harvest. There is so much more I could describe: skiing in Banff, hiking in Jasper, wrestling calves on a ranch down south, building and planting and partying with the hippies at the Aspen Centre. And there is still more fantastic things to come in my last few weeks!
This post was intended to be quick update, but has evolved into a reflection of my experience. Thank you for humoring me. I feel bolstered and able to handle the next busy weeks and life changes ahead of me! Now please excuse me while I do pages and pages of data entry.